Introduction, and why we chatted

Tom Clendon is an online lecturer, who specialises in the SBR (Strategic Business Reporting) exam for the ACCA qualification.

I chatted to him about professional qualification shifts, the challenges that our students face, and why they struggle with the things they do.

Here’s Toms’ brief background:

Have exams changed?

If you’ve read or watched ANY of my content, you’ll recognise this question! I asked Tom the same question because I want to keep getting more, broader opinions and thoughts, from different experts, qualifications, industries etc… this paints a better picture of where we are, and where we should be going.

It’s not often that Google pops up in accounting discussions!

What do accountants' clients expect?

Studying towards a professional accounting qualification means we’re going to be serving our clients. So, do we know what our clients are going to expect from us?

Are we working towards being able to help them!?

Changes in teaching, learning... and the real world!

We’ve changed our teaching and advice to students because of these changes. Why?!

Are we prepared to ALWAYS be learning?

I used to think that the bulk, or most difficult part of my learning would be done once I qualified (spoiler alert: NOT the case!). Tom and I chatted more about the ‘real’ world, profession, changes, opportunities and the challenges of learning when we want results, but don’t like the process.

Journeys are ALWAYS messy

I believed that if my journey was ‘messy’, it would mean that I wouldn’t be able to be successful, that it would ‘taint’ my abilities and reputation and that I wouldn’t be able to achieve what I wanted. 

Will accountants become obsolete?

On behalf of my audience, I want to thank Tom for his time. We appreciate his input, insight and experience. 

If you have more questions you’d like us to chat about, leave a comment below!

If you can relate, or have a query...


  1. I am surprised to see you interviewing an ACCA accountant. Saica people generally shun the ACCA. Does this mean the ACCA is growing in esteem among the SAICA community? the ACCA has applied for an audit license in South Africa. What do you think? Many thanks.

    • I have students from all over the world, most of Tom’s students are probably in the UK, so this wasn’t a South African-specific discussion. I believe the ACCA is a good qualification, and I do know that it’s not as popular in SA as the CA(SA) qual. However, I think we forget that just like any other brand, there will be competition! Apple will ALWAYS push the messaging that their products are ‘better’ than Microsoft or Android, and Microsoft will have the same messaging. We focus on the benefits and features of the brand we support and are invested in. This doesn’t mean that one is objectively ‘better’ than the other. All have strengths and weaknesses, and it SHOULD be up to employers to make that assessment for themselves based on the outcomes of the qualification itself, as opposed to the ‘feeling’ that it’s ‘not good enough’. I find it strange that a qualification that is so highly regarded in the UK, Europe and the UAE is considered so sub-par in SA. For me, this can only be a ‘brand’ issue.
      When I’m advising students on what to study… that’s different, because I’d hate to advise them to study something that won’t help them find employment or the salary they’d expect, and sadly, the job market in SA hasn’t independently confirmed or denied the quality of the ACCA qualification… so I find that ACCA’s are still underpaid or under-estimated.
      My approach… the more YOU know, the more YOU’RE aware of… the better the decisions you can make for yourself.
      I’ll be watching ACCA’s audit approval by IRBA with interest as well. This was attempted over a decade ago, and was unsuccessful, I’m keen to see more progress here 🙂 Keep me informed if you hear stuff before I do!!!

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Yvonne Starkey CA(SA)

Yvonne Starkey CA(SA)

I coach accounting students who are struggling with their study habits and mindset, and want their studies to be as effective as they used to be. See more on my about page

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